She cried the whole way through. And I struggled to know what to do in the face of her reaction. Was she cold? Was she tired? Was she reacting to the palpable rage in the crowd? How was I, as a white mother, to love my child and teach her to act in solidarity?
I don't have any answers to the parenting questions. We continue to talk about the ways in which solidarity is one of the most Christian acts of love. We continue to hold her and tell her we love her and that we sometimes make sacrifices for the things we believe in.
But my own reaction to the rage in the crowd was significantly helped by the wisdom of my friend, the Rev. Mike Kinman who serves as the Dean of the Cathedral in St. Louis. He wrote a blog this week in which he begins by quoting the Rev. Jeff Hood speaking in "The Violence of Demanding Peaceful Protest: The Missteps of Clergy in Ferguson,"
"I don't think you can have an honest conversation about race in our nation when you are always telling people to calm down. If peaceful protest is about controlling people's emotions, then I believe it to be violently taking away the agency of people who have every right to be angry and engaged in resistance. I am for nonviolence. I believe it is by far the most effective and moral way to confront injustice. I am not for the violence of clergy-controlled protests in a space where people have every right to exercise their anger."
Rev. Kinman's response to Rev. Hood is, in part, a question to himself, "And what is my role? What would Jesus have me do when the young people begin to yell, "F#$% the police." As I am still struggling with that, all I can say is here's where I am now.
"My role is to stand with the nonviolent young women and men who are leading this movement, even when they are shouting "F#$& the police" knowing that their anger is righteous and if we are ever going to get to a place of reconciliation and healing, it must be expressed. Knowing that Christ bids us to stand with those who are oppressed, with those who are "the least of these" knowing that in the Kingdom of God, the last will be first."
I would commend his whole blog to you, even as I ask myself what my role is? And is my role as mother distinct from my role as pastor? http://cccdean.blogspot.com/2014/11/when-they-yell-f-police-what-would.html